China: Food delivery startup Plum lays off all staff
Food delivery startup Plum has laid off its entire staff, casting doubt on its continued operations in Singapore and its home market of Hong Kong. According to a report in the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, Plum co-founder Desmond Clinton Cheung, who is also the company’s GM, said full-time contracts for all 110 workers, including his own, had been terminated. The company is creating a new structure which would give staff who wish to remain with the company an equity ownership.
Italian shoppers turning to discount stores, study finds
Italian consumers are spending more in discounters, with sales up 1.5% in the month of September, year-on-year, a new study has found. According to data from the Italian farmers association Coldiretti, overall food retail sales dropped by 1.6% in the same period, with hypermarkets seeing sales fall by 1.8% and supermarkets (-1.5%) and small grocery stores (-1.1%) also seeing declines. The increase in food sales in discount stores indicates that many Italian families are facing economic difficulties, Coldiretti suggests. However, at the same time, increased discounter sales are also being supplemented by products sourced from alternative channels to traditional grocery, such as farmers markets, with 59% of Italians shopping in said markets at least once a month in the last year.
UK: IGD predicts five trends set to shape retail in 2019
Innovative advances in technology, coupled with seamless in-store shopping experiences, are among the IGD’s top predictions for 2019’s global retail trends: Data, and particularly customer data, will offer more personalised shopping. Sustainability concerns will change the way retailers do business. Stores will offer more seamless shopping experiences. Healthy eating and wellness will grow in popularity. Shopping opportunities will increasingly be available anywhere, anytime. The past twelve months have seen new, faster payment systems and collaborations between retailers and healthcare providers to encourage healthy eating. Developments such as these are expected to go even further in 2019.
Italy: Pam expands through partnerships
From 1 January 2019, Pam will gain 68 stores in northwest Italy. This includes 16 Arimondo stores in the provinces of Genoa, Imperia and Savona, which will be rebranded to Pam, and 52 Borello stores in the province of Turin, which will keep the Borello Supermercati banner. Andrea Zoratti, managing director of Pam franchising, said: “We are very pleased to have closed these two agreements because they allow us to increase our market share by about 35% in both Liguria and Piedmont. Becoming affiliated with Pam means not only being able to benefit from the competence and reliability of a company that has been active in Italy for 60 years, but also has effective training programmes and a strong and consolidated brand image”. Pam is looking to maintain its expansion in 2019. The retailer has said it hopes to open new stores in Alassio, Albenga, Albissola, Finalborgo, Genoa, Loano, Rapallo and Sanremo during the year.
Belgium: Delhaize reporting ‘significant increase’ in winter food sales
Mulled wine, soups and winter vegetables are among the categories seeing an increase in sales at the start of winter, Belgian retailer Delhaize has reported. In addition, the retailer is reporting more online sales in the past week or so, as shoppers are less keen to venture to the shops in the cold weather. In terms of specific categories, the retailer said that sales of cabbages, Brussels sprouts, leeks, carrots and onion are ‘growing strongly’, while mushrooms and chicory sales are also up by around 15%, due to the start of the game season.
China: Alibaba announces strategic plan for 'smart Internet' trend
Alibaba announced a broad restructuring plan, involving its major sections such as cloud technology and Tmall, to foster future growth and to upgrade its internal structure to embrace the smart Internet trend. The e-commerce giant will set up the "Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Business Group" based on existing Alibaba Cloud businesses, headed by chief technology officer Zhang Jianfeng, to enhance artificial intelligence capabilities and new technology adoption across various industry groups.
Holland: Albert Heijn ends delivery service Rappie
Netherlands-based Albert Heijn is set to stop its trial of the fast delivery service, Rappie, in Rotterdam. The retailer has said that it was satisfied with the collaboration but will not extend the service. Albert Heijn partnered with start-up SuperBuddy and introduced Rappie in Q4 2017. The delivery service enabled shoppers to receive their orders to a chosen location within two hours. The pilot was trialled in four stores in Rotterdam and was expected to last a year, so has met expectations. From 1 December 2018, SuperBuddy will look for another supermarket partner. However, Albert Heijn products will still be available to purchase through the start-up. The pilot was successful, but Albert Heijn has chosen not to renew it. Eva Mathlener, Albert Heijn’s head of concept and design, said: “We test many new concepts to see what our customers think. Together with SuperBuddy we have seen the past year that instant delivery offers many opportunities. We will take the experiences of the test into the further development of our online services”.
Malaysian retailers target 5% retail sales growth in 2019
The Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) expects retail sales to grow by 5% in 2019 in line with nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth. MRCA president Datuk Seri Garry Chua said for 2019, the retail sales growth rate is expected to be 4.9% based on a survey conducted by the association. “The growth in retail sales is expected to grow and improve marginally in 2019. “This is supported by the strong forecast in fourth quarter (Q4) of 6.1% year-on-year despite the reintroduction of the sales and services tax (SST) in September 2018, as retailers expect year-end school holidays and the festive season to bolster consumer spending.”
OnCost Cash and Carry buys supermarket chain Gulfmart in Kuwait
Kuwait-based wholesale membership retailer OnCost Cash and Carry has reportedly completed the acquisition of supermarket chain Gulfmart. Established in 1999, Gulfmart currently operates 16 stores, including in Shuwaikh, three in Salmiya, two each in Fahaheel, Abbassiya, Hawally, and Farwaniya, and one each in Khaitan, Jahra, Salwa, and Abu Halifa. Gulfmart offers a range of products including groceries, toiletries and consumable goods to customers. It has also launched a new growth strategy to expand its presence by opening 25 large-format supermarkets.
Global online FMCG sales grow by 13%
Online sales of groceries grew by 13% globally in the 12 months ending June 2018 and now account for 6.3% of all fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sales worldwide, Kantar Worldpanel reveals. This compares with a 1.6% increase in total FMCG (online and offline) sales though it is the slowest e-commerce growth in five years. The biggest contributors to FMCG e-commerce growth are China Mainland and the US, which both grew at 30% - in line with the average growth rate for global online FMCG sales over the past half decade. In terms of online share of total sales, Asian economies lead the way. South Korea tops of the table with an online value market share of 19.9% followed by China Mainland (9.5%), where access to rural areas is crucial in expanding e-commerce penetration. Taiwan (8.0%), Japan (7.6%), the UK (7.2%) and France (5.6%) follow.
New research reveals what Canadians are really buying online
New research by Environics Analytics and J.C. Williams Group reveals what Canadians really want to buy online. Although the dollar value of what Canadians spend online is consistent across the country, the composition of those purchases can vary considerably between consumer segments. Environics Analytics' newest data product, ClickSpend powered by J.C. Williams Group, is the first database that will allow retailers and shopping centre developers and owners to analyze the online and in-store shopping habits of consumers across 14 broad spending categories, including clothing, health products and food. Environics Analytics models the survey estimates down to small areas of geography to provide actionable insights about online shopping expenditures by neighbourhood to help the retail sector track market share and identify online and offline opportunities.
US: Ahold's new digital platform to bring retail brands to the forefront
As part of what officials called an “ambitious” new approach to omnichannel, Ahold Delhaize is building a company-wide digital ecosystem that will smooth over lumpy legacy practices while enabling U.S. banners to adapt and execute its capabilities locally. Among other things, the strategy will reverse the traditional roles that the Peapod and local store brands have played in their go-to-market strategies. For more than a decade, Ahold served online shoppers of its brands through offerings known as Peapod by Stop & Shop and Peapod by Giant. Those offerings will be recast next year to feature local branding, “Powered by Peapod,” in a manner not unlike the way Instacart backs associated brands.